Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, claiming about 236,000 lives each year, with children under the age of five being at the highest risk. The good news is that evidence-based interventions exist that can significantly reduce these figures. The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) is working with Bloomberg Philanthropies and governments around the world to test and implement proven drowning prevention interventions.

GHAI also works with local communities to strengthen their advocacy capacity to create awareness and demand to ensure that the necessary policies and funding are in place to achieve sustainable drowning prevention programs. In order to achieve this, GHAI also supports country level journalists in priority countries to understand the important role that media can play in increasing demand for action to prevent drowning.

Last week, we piloted our Toolkit for Journalists on Drowning Prevention training in Ghana. Editors and reporters from countries with high burdens of drowning spent two days working to understand the global burden of drowning, program interventions, possible solutions and brainstormed ways to highlight the issue in the news. The training tackled the challenges of cultural assumptions around drowning, how to deal with the lack of accurate numbers of drowning deaths and the reasons people are drowning, including, poor infrastructure, unsafe boats, overcrowding and faulty lifejackets, unemployment pushing people to take up risky livelihoods, children making perilous journeys to go to school, the climate crisis and much more.

The group shared personal stories about drowning, acted out scenarios and created testimonials and possible story angles to highlight the fact that someone drowns every other minute around the world. These journalists have become passionate advocates for reducing drowning and reinforced the power of the media to generate change. We look forward to seeing their stories about drowning in the months to come.

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